Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

September 18, 2013

Three new firefighters join TFD

TAHLEQUAH — Three new full-time Tahlequah firefighters are expected to begin their work in October after the city council approved the new jobs this week.

Tahlequah Fire Chief Ray Hammons said the department will now have 15 full-time firefighters who work 24-hour shifts, followed by 48 hours off.

Councilors OK’ed the hire of Jimmy Fort, Sean Valdez and Matt Smith, all of whom have been volunteering for the department. Each will start with an hourly pay of $13.53.

“We always feel like the volunteers should have the first shot,” said Hammons. “Volunteering is where the love of fire service starts; we were all volunteers before becoming full-time. It’s a blessing and a curse when you’re a fire chief who has to tell three volunteers, ‘Yes, you have a job’; and then tell four other volunteers they didn’t get it. All of them are capable, and all are very deserving.”

Hammons said Tahlequah’s firefighters all seek out advanced training.

“They have, by choice, chosen to step up,” said Hammons. “Our guys grab that training; they want that training. Because of the makeup of this community, there’s always a possibility of rope rescues, structure fires, and we have a high accident rate, which leads to the need for auto-extrication training. We have to do it all, so that’s why we train so diligently.”

Hammons expects the city to continue its pattern of growth, and said he’s appreciative of Mayor Jason Nichols, Assistant City Administrator Kevin Smith, and the city council for working to expand the department in recent years.

“With everybody working, this will give us three full-time firefighters at one station and two at another station,” said Hammons. “Of course, there are always sick days and vacation days in there, so there will be days that number is reduced, and there might be two at each station, or two at one and one firefighter at another. But always at least three full-time firefighters on shift.”

Hammons said that workforce has never been possible at the Tahlequah Fire Department.

“We’re glad to see our city is growing and allowing the fire department to grow with it,” said Hammons.

-- jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

Text Only
Local News
  • jn-WEB-truck-fire.jpg Up in flames

    Truck fire could impact city’s trash services

    Operations at Tahlequah’s solid waste transfer station will be impacted by the loss of a 2008 Freightliner destroyed by fire Wednesday night.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-gasoline.jpg Ethanol or regular gasoline? Dealers, mechanics disagree over what’s best

    Oklahoma is one of the few states with refineries producing pure gasoline and E10.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fountain.jpg University heads in Oklahoma average $216,000 per year

    First in a three-part series about higher education compensation and how it compares with pay for rest of the state

    For years, area legislators, administrators of state agencies and state employees have been critical of cuts to programs and flat budgets. But while programs may be shaved and salaries for higher education professors may be stagnant, administrative costs seem to be exploding on many campuses.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • ishcomer-elizabeth.jpg Woman picked up for child endangerment

    A 41-year-old woman was released from jail this week after Tahlequah officers arrested her on child endangerment and drug charges.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • mcgregor-michael.jpg Two jailed after false 911 report made

    Two people were jailed Wednesday after a woman allegedly made a false report to 911 dispatchers.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • TPS looking to fill several positions before school starts

    The Tahlequah I-35 Board of Education held a special meeting last night, to bring more certified personnel and support staff on board before school starts.

    August 1, 2014

  • svw-beagles-MAIN.jpg Going to the dogs

    Hounds at center stage for more than just Red Fern Festival

    Larry Blackman and Titus Blanket have always loved dogs, especially beagles. In their respective roles as president and vice president of the Cherokee County Beagle Club, they’ve turned that love into a passion.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • sanders-jeri.jpg Murder charge against mother of dead boy, 3, dismissed

    A first-degree murder charge has been dropped against a 37-year-old mother accused in the death of her 3-year-old son.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • supersalary.jpg Okla. superintendents paid comparatively well; teachers 46th lowest

    Administrators say they work year-round, have other duties

    As public education in Oklahoma continues to feel the pinch of a shrinking state budget, watchdog groups and district patrons across the state are asking whether superintendents are getting a disproportionate piece of the financial pie.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Boards keep city, county afloat

    City and county officials rely on a variety of boards to oversee diverse and complex issues, and many of their members work behind the scenes to keep the wheels of government oiled and turning.
    The city of Tahlequah currently has 10 boards and three trust authorities. Cherokee County has two county-specific boards.

    July 31, 2014


Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction